An open letter on the proposed budget

A letter to my congressional representatives. Please note that this is my personal opinion, and not sent on behalf of any congregation or organization. 

My fellow Americans,

I would like to take a moment of your time to consider the inhuman budget proposal put before our government last week.

Allow me to explain such a stark characterization of its content:

We humans came into being as a product of our environment. We live on a planet with the ideal “Goldilocks” conditions for life. Well-tended and cared for, this earth provides everything that we have needed to survive and thrive. But it is vulnerable to abuse and poison. We owe it to our very humanity to nurture its health, even if only for the sake of our own.

Speaking of health, we humans have developed phenomenal knowledge and artfulness in the practice of healing. We have eradicated some plagues that struck terror into our ancestors. We have pioneered tiny techniques that have saved small lives barely begun, and extended our families’ time together.

It is a mark of our humanity that we have the capacity for empathy, which drives us to seek to ease the suffering and hurt of those whom we see around us. It is that empathy that moves us to feed a hungry child, knowing that the distraction of that gnawing void will keep her otherwise from growing in stature and in knowledge. It is compassion that organizes the delivery of company and a warm meal to an elderly widower.

We communicate not only by means of compassion. We have an almost supernatural and celebrated ability to commune quite universally, through the means of art and music, drama and dance. Surely, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

And we know our history. These United States are a human construct. If we sell our humanity, then we lose it all, and no wall can keep it in, and no army can win it back. “For what will it profit them,” asked one great leader, “if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?” (Matthew 16:26a)

And the same wise one said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 7:21)

In all humility and humanity, I recommend, and as my representatives dare I say that I require, that you reject this budget where it falls short in its humanity; for that is a deficit we simply cannot afford.

Respectfully,

The Reverend Rosalind C Hughes

************************************************

Annotated version, for the biblically inclined:

We humans came into being as a product of our environment. We live on a planet with the ideal “Goldilocks” conditions for life. Well-tended and cared for, this earth provides everything that we have needed to survive and thrive. But it is vulnerable to abuse and poison. We owe it to our very humanity to nurture its health, even if only for the sake of our own.

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens … then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food … The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. (Genesis 2:4b,7-9a,15)

Speaking of health, we humans have developed phenomenal knowledge and artfulness in the practice of healing. We have eradicated some plagues that struck terror into our ancestors. We have pioneered tiny techniques that have saved small lives barely begun, and extended our families’ time together.

For he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men. (Lamentations 3:33)

It is a mark of our humanity that we have the capacity for empathy, which drives us to seek to ease the suffering and hurt of those whom we see around us. It is that empathy that moves us to feed a hungry child, knowing that the distraction of that gnawing void will keep her otherwise from growing in stature and in knowledge. It is compassion that organizes the delivery of company and a warm meal to an elderly widower.

But [Jesus] answered them, “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:37a)

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty ad give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:37-40)

We communicate not only by means of compassion. We humans have an almost supernatural and celebrated ability to commune quite universally, through the means of art and music, drama and dance. Surely, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

And whenever the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand; so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. (1 Samuel 16:23)

And we know our history. These United States are a human construct. If we sell our humanity, then we lose it all, and no wall can keep it in, and no army can win it back. “For what will it profit them,” asked one great leader, “if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?” (Matthew 16:26a)

And the same wise one said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 7:21)

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